The Emerging Springbok team was dealt a double blow on Thursday, with the news that two key players – fullback Louis Ludik and flyhalf Burton Francois – have both been ruled out of the encounter with the British and Irish Lions.
The tourists will play the Emerging Boks in Cape Town on June 23 – the penultimate game of their 10-match trip.
Rugby 365 reports that Emerging Boks coach Dick Muir told a media briefing that Francis, the victorious Bulls’ back-up No.10 to new Springbok Morné Steyn, has undergone surgery after injuring his knee in the 61-17 victory over the Chiefs in the Final last Saturday.
Ludik has been ruled out for the rest of the year, after a freak accident early in the Golden Lions 10-74 capitulation against the B&I Lions in Johannesburg on Wednesday.
The Golden Lions No.15, who was one of his team’s star players in the Super 14, tore his cruciate and collateral ligaments in his right knee and is expected to be out of action for six months.
That means he will not only miss a second chance of playing against the Lions, he will not feature in the Currie Cup competition at all.
Ludik will undergo surgery next week.
This opens the door for Earl Rose to start at either flyhalf or fullback against the B&I Lions at Newlands.
Rose, who was pulled from the Golden Lions’ game against the tourists this week after he was named on the bench, will now get his chance to show that the faith Bok coach Peter de Villiers has showed in him will be justified.
The national selectors have not yet named replacements for Ludik and Francis.
Meanwhile Muir, who is also the Boks’ backline coach, described the B&I Lions as a “fantastic” team – following their 10-try demolition job on the Golden Lions.
“Their game has picked up quite a bit and they have reasonable time to prepare [for the Tests] and a lot of games. So we will be able to take a lot from that,” Muir told the media gathering.
He had high praise for centres Brian O’Driscoll and Jamie Roberts.
“For starters, I thought their centre combination looked good… it is no doubt more motivation for us the way their centres played.
“I am not surprised at how much they played because you play as well as the opposition allow. But they played with good width and put in a lot of work off the ball,” Muir felt.
“This is a fantastic Lions squad and you can see the synergy and camaraderie developing.”
Bok forwards coach Gary Gold felt the Lions will adopt a less risky game plan in the Tests.
“I don’t think they’ll move the ball that much. I also think they will make subtle changes to their game when the Test teams run out.”
He was surprised at the result against the Golden Lions.
“But I think the Free State, Sharks and Western Province are not under-prepared in terms of tough games. The British and Irish Lions performance, however, heeded a warning to the other provinces that they are not the tired Lions.”Tweet